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The Downbeat - 8 April 2011 - #464 - The Future Is Now Edition

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J.A. Adande takes a look at the small market situation in the NBA. Somehow though, because of Sloan resigning and Deron Williams getting traded, he feels that the Utah model of success can't be sustained,

The Spurs are considered the model small-market franchise, winning four championships between 1999 and 2007, the result of stability plus ingenuity. (They were among the first and most successful at finding and incorporating foreign-born players.) Yet some will tell you they modeled themselves after the Jazz. And if the Jazz model can't be sustained, then what?

Except that he contradicts himself by stating that the Spurs modeled their franchise after the Jazz. I would say it's a pretty sustainable model. The Jazz have had few down years and when they have in the past, they've been able to bounce back from them and return to the playoffs in short order. Granted, that's only happened one time since Larry H Miller took over the team before this season.

How were they able to do it? Well, they had to overpay a bit to get free agents Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer to come to Utah. They were also fortunate with Boozer's unique situation. He shouldn't have been available when he was and when the Jazz had cap space.

You also have to have a lot of luck as evidenced by his new model franchise, the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Sonics, at the time, had just about a 9% chance of landing the top pick and a 10% chance of landing in the #2 spot. Portland was also fortunate in that they only had a 5% chance of winning the lottery and they did.

The Jazz weren't so fortunate, having to combine picks to move up in the 2005 draft to land Deron Williams. It was a good move and one that helped return the team to prominence.

But in the large market versus small market discussion, I don't think that using OKC or Portland as examples is the right way to go. Sure, they're in small markets, but they have billionaire owners who could go over the cap and sign players like big market teams if they wanted to. The Jazz don't have that luxury.

So we'll see in the next few years if the Jazz can resume their model and get things back on track. A large part of that though is going to be if they can hit the jackpot next month.

I'm a little disappointed that this is Fess' best catch phrase,

But it's professional basketball. Probably this is my catch phrase, but you never know what's going to happen tomorrow. You might start tomorrow. Or you might get pretty bad injury.

"Let's play the basketball" is much, much better. Fess did state that his preferred option was to return to the Jazz. My question is, if the Jazz were to bring Fess back, what would change with him and his game? What would be different? I realize big men can take a while to develop, but is he going to significantly improve? He's pretty decent on defense and rebounding. He may be the 5th option on offense, but he's got to start contributing more on that end.

You also have to worry about all the games he's missed for non-basketball injuries. Can you count on him? Everyone has missed some games for gastric distress or whatever the PR term of the day is for that, but some of the other things might be avoided.

So if he does come back, are we going to see anything different out of him? He will come cheap, but I'm not sure the Jazz have him in their plans anymore. Would he benefit from a change in scenery?

It looks like DWill is officially done for the year, whatever is left of it. He'll have wrist surgery to remove bone fragments and scar tissue according to Yahoo!. He's re-injured it a couple of time since he's been with the Nets. I'm selfish of course, but it's probably something that should have been explored shortly after he was traded to the Nets. He said the Nets didn't trade for him to sit on the bench. That's true, but their season was done and the bigger picture going forward for that team was to build around him. It could be something that he needed regardless and wouldn't cause more damage.

The Nets are a game up on the Kings in the standings with both teams having four games left. The Nets still have games against @New York, @Toronto, Charlotte, and @Chicago while Sacramento faces @Memphis, @GS, OKC, and the Lakers. So both could lose out.

The first name out of Kevin O'Connor's mouth when Billy King brought up DWill's name in The Trade was Derrick Favors. He had to be included in any trade discussion. Devin Harris and two draft picks were also part of the deal but Favors was the the main cog in the deal.

For that reason alone, he has to play more than 18 minutes a game like he did last night. I know we have a bit of the proverbial logjam up front, but getting him more minutes is one of the biggest issues heading into next season. Not only did he have just the one foul last night, he was playing very well. Millsap had 39 minutes and Jefferson had 37. There has to be at least 5-7 minutes that could have been siphoned from those two.

He isn't just the future, he's the now.

Plus, he's one of the only things worth watching now and we only have four games left.


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